Two stories in one!

This book offers two stories in one - a tale of a troubled teenager and the brief respite found from an unlikely friendship, and the author trying to write it.

Leila finds school a struggle, navigating the noisy classrooms and students, she feels like no one really understands her. Duke is a loner, not coping after the loss of his wife he seeks refuge in the forest. The unlikely friendship between the two is a comfort for both characters - offering Leila a place to feel understood and clear her mind, and offering Duke a sense of family and easing the loneliness of his solitary life. This story within a story is then encapsulated by the tale of the author, stepping in occasionally to check in with the reader and sharing the imaginary journey to publication with a twist that brings the story off of the fictional page.

The structure of ‘Leila’ was very unusual and admittedly it took me a while to grasp it and I think it could be tweaked to be more effective. I’m reminded of The NeverEnding Story in how there’s Leila’s story but we also gain the perspective of the author who is writing it.

I liked getting to know Leila and Earl du Porter does a great job of bringing her to life, explaining her struggles and feelings. As described this is a coming of age story with a twist and that explores neurodiversity, isolation and friendship. I think that this would be best suited for teen readers and older with plenty to keep readers curious about the direction the book is taking until the very end.

Sat, 12/08/2023

‘A strongly plotted, character-led novel for young adults. Highly recommended!’

I must say, I very much enjoyed this young adult (possibly new adult) novel by Earl Du Porter.

It’s the story of a young girl named Leila who is little bit different (neurodivergent).

And, as we all know, life for a child who’s not good at ‘fitting in’ can be difficult. But there is one person who understands her; who she feels comfortable with: Duke, a stranger living deep in the forest.

This is very much a coming of age story, as the young protagonist attempts to find her way in life.

It's very well written, the author having a very distinct writing style. I liked how it was written; I liked how the author is not a victim of purple prose, happy to keep a sentence short and not overly flowery. But the best part of the novel is the author's ability to develop his protagonist. I really got to know Leila and, I think, understand her; where she's coming from and where she's trying to get to.

I also enjoyed getting to know Duke; possibly he was my favourite character in the story.

All in all, I'm very happy to recommend this cleverly plotted, character-led novel to older teenagers and possibly even to adults. I think they'll enjoy getting to know the characters and watching Leila battling her demons. It's not often I find a new author to enjoy but, I think, in the case of Earl Du Porter, I just did!

A ‘Wishing Shelf’ Book Review

The Wishing Shelf
Thu, 29/06/2023

It all falls into place!

Well I don’t know what to say!

I loved it!

It all falls into place and leaves you wanting to discuss it with someone!

It would be a great book for a book group to discuss, as all sorts of questions crop up. Also, the writing to the audience comes into its own!

I have just only read these last chapters and need a day or so to think about it. But I wanted you to know I thought it was great!

Well done

Wed, 01/02/2023

Mind-rumbling twist

I really like the way you describe what is going on in her mind. With my experience of working with children with autism, I really think you have captured her challenges and her thought processes very well. The way you described her art was lovely and I had a clear image in my head of her drawings. The dynamic between Leila and her dad was believable. It felt like she was quite disconnected from him - but I guess she was.
I really enjoyed the book, it is a lovely story with great characters and a mind rumbling twist. I loved the way the whole time the reader is to flicking between the Leila / Duke’s story and that of the author – very clever and unusual.
I would definitely recommend this book. 5 Stars!

Fri, 24/03/2023

A feel-good book that sparks your intrigue

I was recommended this book by a friend, and i enjoyed it enough to write a review.
I thought the book was well written and easy to get into. The main characters are developed very well, indeed you even feel you know the main character, can picture her and anticipate her reations. For this reason the book is very engaging and the second half of it is a real page-turner as you are keen to find out what happens to the main characters. It is one of those books you think about for a few days after finishing it.
Although i believe the book is targetted at teenagers, i would suggest most adults would also enjoy the book and appreciate it's messages.
Highly recommended; look forward to more by this author

Wed, 10/05/2023

Great teen mystery story

Although this book is written for mid teens, as an adult, I really enjoyed this story about a neurodivergent teenage girl making her way through school and into adult life. The main characters were well developed and I felt immediately invested in their stories. The mystery/ suspense builds slowly but becomes a real page turner towards the final satisfying resolution. The book had a very positive message and I would be interested to hear how it is received by teenagers. I look forward to reading more from this author.

Wed, 17/05/2023